The best leaders know the most – about themselves. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is a full understanding of who you are, learning about you. What motivates you? What demotivates you? What makes you tick? Think of you as a lifelong friend, coworker, team member, direct report, and boss.
There is power when you know your strengths and weaknesses, when you’re set up to succeed and when you’re most prone for failure. It’s imperative that you learn your trigger points; those things that set off automatic responses in your life, both good and bad. Wouldn’t it be good to know that rejection tends to “trigger” defensiveness and be able to do something about it on the front end? The best leaders know themselves and respond before their emotions can react.
Knowing you allows for better responses in the midst of situations. You can actually learn to coach yourself once you know yourself, once you become a student of yourself.
Everything we’ve ever been taught about encouraging and inspiring others, leading people and teams can be applied back to us, if we become students of ourselves.
How do we become a student of ourselves?
There are 2 ways.
1. A Student Learns.
Regardless of the subject or content, a student’s primary responsibility is to learn the information. They take dedicated time to absorb the information presented. To master a subject, we must commit to learning. Learning always precedes mastering.
You will never master anything you don’t dedicate time to. Your natural gifts will only take you so far.
At the end of a work week, event (or anyplace where you ran into yourself) stop and dedicate some time to learning about you.
A few questions to ask:
“What have I learned about me this week?”
“Where did I respond differently than I thought I would?”
“What was I surprisingly good at?”
“What was I unexpectedly bad at?”
Without taking the time to stop and learn about yourself you are destined to operate under the same preconceived ideas you’ve always had. Learning removes the mystery. Learning about you helps you improve where you’re weak and capitalize where you’re strong.
2. A Student Studies
The differences in learning and studying or subtle but significant. When you learn something you gain knowledge. When you study you seek to know more about what you have learned.
While learning precedes mastery, it’s not the end. Some gain information faster than others, but without an intentional plan, that knowledge will never become more than surface level trivial facts. The old saying, “Knowledge Is Power” is true only when I know what to do with that knowledge. Having knowledge without studying is having a map to great treasure but not understanding the directions.
After you begin to learn about yourself, not just who you think you are, you have to take time to study your findings. James talks about the man who looks at himself in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. The greatest deception is self deception.
In the next post we’ll breakdown 3 Self Study Steps to Become a Student of Yourself.